The beneficial effects of carob on blood sugar and cholesterol means it may be a healthier alternative to chocolate. Since it contains no caffeine but is rich in antioxidants and fiber, it could be your best snack whenever the craving for chocolates crawls up on you and strikes. Of course carob isn't as tasty as chocolates but its health benefits are worth all the trouble.
What is carob?
This nutty, chocolate-like flavored fruit grows on the Ceratonia siliqua L tree native to the Mediterranean region. But you won't necessarily need to travel to the temperate regions to have a bite of the carob: they grow in the US and other countries as well. The fruit occurs as a pod measuring 10 to 30 cm long, with a wrinkled and leathery exterior.
Though it may not match chocolates in taste, carob is naturally sweeter than cocoa, and can work as a natural sweetener for those who have problems with artificial sweeteners. Blame the tannins in the pods for the tinges of bitterness to the taste. But it is still a healthier alternative to chocolate bars.
Health benefits of carob
Aside from the taste, which may not be an issue after all, you may want to consider making the carob part of your daily diet. Here are the five main health benefits of this magic fruit:
Rich in nutrients and antioxidants
If you need dietary fiber, look no further than the carob. The pulp and pods contain insoluble fibers while the seeds pack soluble fibers. The soluble fibers contain polysaccharides or long sugar chains of galactose and mannose. Users familiar with carob products refer to their seed extracts as bean gum.
This magic fruit is also a powerhouse of antioxidants. This is because it contains polyphenols which occur in three groups: phenolic acids, flavonoids and tannins. It would be good news for you since you can't prevent oxidants from entering your body, but have a natural way of ejecting them out. Many people often struggle to remove oxidants from their systems but with little success. Carob offers a safe and sustainable way to keep oxidants out of your body, and has no side effects since it is a natural remedy.
But you may want to avoid the seeds for maximum benefits from the nutrients and antioxidants. This is because the seeds may contain phytic acid and lectins since carob is a bona fide member of the legume family.
Helps with digestive issues
If your baby has problems with digestion, burping up food with an alarming frequency, you may consider feeding them on carob. This problem requires carob bean gum, which experts have proved that it helps with gastroesophageal reflux – a technical term referring to the problem of babies throwing up food instead of digesting it.
Want confirmation from the experts? Well, a clinical trial involving 39 babies returned interesting results. The children who ingested formula with carob gum had far fewer instances of regurgitation compared to those on regular treatments. In fact, continuous intake of bean gum slowed down stomach emptying substantially.
These results also show that carob may also improve diarrhea. Carob juice cuts the duration of diarrhea by half in children between 3 and 21 months. This is a clear indication that carob can solve most of the problems you experience with your young ones. Instead of spending a fortune on medication and hospital bills, keep your young ones healthy and free of complications by feeding them on carobs.
Reduces cholesterol levels
Most of the junk foods around you will get you lots of bad cholesterol, but since you can't avoid them, you need a reliable panacea. Sometimes, you can't really stay away from things that add cholesterol to your body. Such products include some cooking oils and foodstuff. But with the carob, you may never have to worry about cholesterol accumulating in your body again.
A clinical trial with 12 men taking carob bean gum with 0.75 g fiber per 100 calories showed a vastly reduced total and LDL cholesterol in just 4 weeks. It also increased the ratio of HDL to LDL, which means a higher level of heart-protective effects.
You will also be happy to know that carob fiber reduces the fat that accumulates in blood in people with high cholesterol levels. This implies that carob helps people with high cholesterol levels and protects them from blocking of the blood vessels as a result of the fat in the blood.
If you have been spending too many resources, or having sleepless nights due to the fear of cholesterol and its effects, worry no more. Just ensure you have enough supply of carob instead of chocolates, in spite of the differences in tastes.
Burns fats in the body
Worried about accumulation of fats in your body? If you can lay your hands on the carob fruit, you are safe. Carob is rich in fiber which helps reduce acylated ghrelin, the hormone responsible for the severe pangs of hunger you experience even after meals. It also lowers triglycerides and fatty acids, some of the markers associated with weight gain.
If you are afraid of gaining weight, but are never too comfortable skipping meals, you will need carob at arm's reach.
Carob packs lots of inostiols, especially myo-inostiols, which are under study for combating diabetes, eating disorders and insulin resistance. This means it could help people with type 2 diabetes. Since it also helps keep your appetite under check, carob reduces the chances of eating foods that contain high levels of sugar.
If you have a diabetic family member or friend, consider getting enough carobs for them. It will reduce chances of insulin spikes and resistance, and help them lead better lives.
The health benefits of carob far outweigh any negative effect the fruit may have on individuals. Though not as sweet as chocolates, they are far much healthier, combating diabetes, cholesterol and burning fats in your body. If you need more information or help, please contact us.